Although it was Men’s tennis last season due to being discontinued for the 2020-2021 academic school year, they came out blazing at the start of their season. They were projected to finish in 9th place in the Midwest Conference for the spring season, but that did not stop this team. The team had an impressive win against Illinois College on Saturday, March 7. Illinois College was projected to finish 7th in the Midwest Conference and. The last time the prairie fire beat Illinois College was in the 2015-2016 season. In the 2018-2019 season for the prairie fire, they lost to Illinois College with a score of 1-8 and this year they won with a score of 5-4.
Jared Schwarz had been the rock behind Knox College tennis. He always gave it his all and never complained. Schwarz talked about the impressive win against Illinois College. “Illinois College gave us a run for our money and we had to fight for that win. It felt great to get a conference win so early in the season, especially against a team none of us have ever beaten,” Schwarz said. Schwarz has been an essential member of the tennis program as he had to play in the #1 spot for his team. He has also been a part of this team that has won three consecutive Midwest Conference Sportsmanship Awards. Schwarz was having a very successful season with having an individual record of .500 in the first four games.
Due to the novel COVID-19, all the spring sports teams have been canceled for the remainder of this year. Though disappointing, the men’s tennis team had the best start since the Spring of 2014. They ended their season this year 2-2, which tied their total wins from last season. Coach Meredith Witherell was thrilled to see what this team would do this season. “We were poised to have multiple wins and to have our best season in years. We had a depth to the team that the Prairie Fire has been missing in recent seasons”.
Schwarz like Coach Witherell are disappointed with the season getting cut short, but made this last season count. Schwarz talked about the goals he and his team had for their season. “Knowing that this was the last season for everybody, we decided to make the most of this season and have as much fun as we could. I would say we accomplished this goal and we had a great final season.”
Witherell had many positive takeaways from this short, but successful season. Soon after defeating IC, Knox Tennis was ranked 1st in the Midwest Conference rankings. Coach Witherell loved the team chemistry that this team had. “When the decision was made to suspend all Spring sports and to shelter in place, these guys chose to spend their last day on campus together. This feeling of brotherhood, of belonging, will extend far beyond this season.”